#RapplerReads for December 2021: Putting the spotlight on Fil-Am authors

Jaco Joves
#RapplerReads for December 2021: Putting the spotlight on Fil-Am authors
Here are stories of immigrant families told in creative ways

Editor’s note: #RapplerReads is a project by the BrandRap team. The books featured in this list were provided for by our affiliate partner, Fully Booked. We earn a commission every time you shop through the affiliate links below.

This time, I’m ready.

While my fellow BrandRap colleagues are in full swing when it comes to their reading, I’m all over the place – an embarrassing cycle I had for the past few years. (Though I should also forgive myself for feeling ashamed. 😔) 

It was always like this: I would get excited on a book and breeze through the first few chapters, only to lose steam before the story’s crescendo. I can easily dismiss that life happened or that I have a monkey mind, but now, I’m determined to mend a complicated relationship with a hobby I fell in love with more than a decade ago.

Hence, #RapplerReads. For our maiden theme, we want to kick off our reading spree with light, brisk tomes. Starting in modest steps is key, we believe. A nice warm-up before we get to the big leagues. Moreover, we eyed works by Filipino authors, where many of the lightweight fare are on the other side of the pond.

This December, read with us as we line up these titles for review! From the brilliant minds of Filipino-American authors, their takes on the diasporic experience will amuse, inspire, or tear us up (a bit). What could be more Christmassy than that?

The Son of Good Fortune by Lysley Tenorio

Undocumented teen Excel tried hard to live a low-key American life, especially after his former Pinay action star mom Maxima revealed that they’re “TNTs.” But when he joins his girlfriend Sab on a sojourn to Hello City, a place that seemed to exist outside society’s constructs, Excel gets the chance to redirect the course of his life.

Fairest by Meredith Talusan

Author Meredith Talusan recounts her life’s story – growing up as a “sun child” (with albinism) from a rural Philippine village to transitioning as a woman in the US. Her reflections on her experiences, sometimes all too bittersweet, intersects the illusions and perceptions on race, disability, and gender.

We Belong by Cookie Hiponia Everman

After being urged by her daughters to tell them a bedtime story, Elsie comes up with her most imaginative one – the tale of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god – while looking back on her own, when she and her sister first set foot in the US and navigated their way to acceptance.

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Estrada Kelly

The New York Times-bestselling children’s lit author Erin Entrada Kelly is at it again with the tale of 8-year-old Marisol Rainey, who was born to a Filipina mom and a dad whose work requires him to be away often. She wants to have an amazing summer like everyone else, but the adventure and fun that fill her imagination can’t seem to translate into reality.

When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling & Aaron Asis

Michelle Sterling teamed up with illustrator Aaron Asis for her debut, When Lola Visits, which tells the story of another young girl’s summer. The season signifies that her grandma from the Philippines is about to visit again, filling up their home with the aroma of mango jam, singing in Filipino, and funny baking stories. But for this particular summer, the apo (granddaughter) has a surprise up her sleeve to make lola’s visit a bit more special.

Mixed Plate by Jo Koy

Stand-up comedian Jo Koy got candid about his own version of the American dream in this funny and moving memoir. He writes about how it was like growing up in a mixed-race family, to experiencing stuff not “talked about often as immigrants,” and his bumpy ride to success. We heard the jokes, now it’s time to hear the man behind the funny.

Can’t choose? There’s no harm in getting and reading them all. 😈 Perfect in keeping you company for the holidays, especially if going out is still not an option. Happy reading! – Rappler.com

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Jaco Joves

Jaco was a senior content producer for Rappler's BrandRap team.